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Saturday, 7 December

Counter Terrorism - Causing Fear?

News has come to ThisWeekinFM that all military clubs in London have all been placed on a 'high security' alert. Meanwhile, the collateral available from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office to support Counter Terrorism Awareness Week is disturbing in its coverage and may serve not only to heighten awareness but also cause fear.

The Run, Hide Tell Poster is graphic in its message - 'If you hear gunfire or a weapons attack, leave the area safely if you can. If this puts you in greater danger, find a safe place to take cover'.

The Crowded Places PowerPoint is so wide ranging that it makes it clear that any public space could be the subject of an attack.

Meanwhile, the description of VIEDs (Vehicle Improvised Explosive Devices) is next to useless as it suggests that any vehicle could pose a threat but then goes on to state that the public should look out for those parked illegally, with their lights on or with signs of explosive material visible!

Take a look at the collateral here. You are invited to download anything free of charge and display the various posters. You will have to print them first.

We are interested in your opinion on what is on offer - use any of the social media channels to air your views  

 

Counter Terrorism Awareness Week - Day 4

In the last 18 months alone, officers in London have seized £2.5 million destined for terrorist and criminal groups. Officers across the UK are taking part in operations with the aim of preventing the flow of money - as highlighted yesterday (Thurs 27) in the fourth day of Counter Terrorism Awareness Week. Counter terrorism officers work in partnership at ports with the UK Border Force, the Security Services and other agencies. This has led to improved intelligence sharing across agencies, successful prosecutions, seizures and forfeitures. Officers target terrorists and criminals alike to ensure that our borders are a hostile environment for them to operate.

On Thursday 24 November, counter terrorism officers focused on the ongoing partnership with local boroughs to target those who use Money Service Bureaux and transmission agents to move money out of the country to fund terrorist activity. Security forces also targeted bogus charity collectors whose criminal activities harm the efforts of legitimate charities.

Detective Chief Superintendent Terri Nicholson, Counter Terrorism Command said: "It is increasingly difficult for terrorists and those who support them to covertly move money for their cause. We need to stay one step ahead of them. By working closely with partners we can ensure that it does not get any easier.

"Officers across the UK are working to identify and target known routes for cash couriers and to detect any new ways of moving funds and those supporting them.

"Those who possess cash legitimately have nothing to fear. Our targets are those who exploit free movement and we aim to make this more difficult. Our success rate is improving all the time. By working in partnership with other agencies to common goals we will be more effective in securing our borders against abuse by terrorists and criminals alike."

 

Previous reporting

Senior British Transport Police officers and representatives from the rail industry have met to reaffirm their commitment to tackling terrorism, as Counter Terrorism Awareness Week got underway.

Yesterday, new BTP Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock officially launched BTP’s involvement in the week at the National Railway Museum in York. He told attendees that it is rail staff and the public who are crucial in preventing terrorism every day. DCC Hanstock said: “Rail staff and passengers are our eyes and ears. Nobody is better placed to spot something out of place or suspicious, and it is their continued awareness that is vital to prevent and, if necessary, respond to a terrorist attack.

“This is not about scaring people; it is about equipping those staff who work every day on busy stations and trains with the necessary skills to act.”

Every year BTP provides free counter terrorism awareness sessions to hundreds of staff who work on the railways. Topics covered at the seminars include the current threat, what to look out for, how terrorist tactics are evolving and how to report suspicious behaviour.

DCC Hanstock added: “We are using our specialist knowledge of the rail industry to equip frontline rail staff with the knowledge and skills to deter, detect and report terrorist activity. Today I am inviting every organisation that has staff working on the railways to sign up to our free awareness sessions. By continuing to work together we can ensure the rail network remains a secure environment so that the nation’s travelling public get home every day, safe, secure and on time. ”

The BTP event was held to mark the first day of Counter Terrorism Awareness Week – which will see police forces across the country taking action to involve the public in preventing terrorism.

All this week at railway stations across England, Scotland and Wales, BTP officers will be providing counter terrorism information to passengers and delivering training sessions to rail staff. This includes activity at Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, York, Darlington, Newcastle and Sheffield.

DCC Hanstock added: “If you spot anything suspicious on the railways please call the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 or you can text BTP on 61016.”

 

Previous reporting

Policing activity will involve over 3,000 officers in London alone during Counter Terrorism Awareness Week which was launched in London on Monday, 24 November. It will include briefing thousands of businesses - shopping centres, cinemas, sports stadiums - to help them step up their security and train their staff.

'Please tell us if you know or suspect something - your information could save lives' is the key message of the campaign.

High visibility patrols around crowded places, operations in transport hubs and visits to faith centres is just some of the activity taking place as part of the Week.

Forces are focusing on five key areas where action by the police, businesses and the public can prevent terrorism: vigilance in crowded places and transport hubs, preventing violent extremism, cutting off terrorist financing and preventing access to tools that terrorists need to operate.

Police will be speaking to students in schools and universities about the Prevent strategy, which provides practical help to stop people from being drawn into terrorism. Police forces will also be using social media to engage people in the conversation.

Countering terrorism has for too long been thought of as the preserve of the police, security agencies and government, says National Policing Lead for Counter-Terrorism, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley who called for people and businesses to be prepared to play their part in keeping the country safe. He said:  “The danger posed by violent extremists has evolved. They are no longer a problem solely stemming from countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, far away in the minds of the public. Now, they are home grown, in our communities; radicalised by images and messages they read on social media and prepared to kill for their cause. The tragic murder of Lee Rigby last year was a stark warning to us all about how real and local the threat is.

“Police officers and our partners are continuing to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to protect the UK from a terrorist attack. So far this year, we have disrupted several attack plots and made 271 arrests following counter-terrorism investigations but the eyes and ears of law enforcement and other agencies alone cannot combat the threat.”

 

CONTEST

The UK’s counter-terrorism strategy CONTEST, focuses on four key areas; pursue, prevent, protect and prepare. Most of the publicity around terrorism is based on ‘pursue’ and ‘prevent’, as these involve arrests, the disrupting of actual attack plots and turning people away from extremism.

AC Rowley is keen to stress that we can all be doing more to ‘protect’ and ‘prepare’ – ensuring security in crowded places, monitoring our borders and being ready to respond to a terrorist attack. He said: “We don’t want to scare people but we do want them to understand the threat and be vigilant to things that are out of place or suspicious and report it to the police. We need businesses to check that their security measures are effective and train their staff to detect potential threats and, if necessary, respond to an attack.

“Experience shows us that terrorists target busy, well-populated places to ensure that attacks have a maximum impact. Businesses, particularly those in crowded places, have an invaluable role to play in our fight against terrorists, violent extremists and other criminals. Their staff are often the first people to spot signs that something is wrong.”

 

Not a one-off
The police regularly hold security events with businesses; and the Metropolitan Police Service alone gave 29 presentations during 2013 and 2014.

Since the terror threat level increased on August 29 reports of suspicious behaviour have nearly doubled. This is a direct result of reporting by members of the public, and every report is investigated.

However, AC Rowley has also called for more people to have the confidence to report: “Please tell us if you know or suspect something; your information could save lives. We will deal with information passed to us carefully and respond sensitively and proportionately.”

 

The Anti-Terrorist Hotline number is 0800 789 321.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

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